Have you ever thought about “is blockchain the future”? If you did, then you are not alone. Blockchain technology has taken everyone at a surprise as it has the potential to change almost everything around us.
We live in an era where technology plays a crucial role in our day-to-day activity. For instance, you check the internet, connect to online stores to buy groceries and watch your favorite show on Netflix. All of these are not possible without the inclusion of technology.
The numbers are already strong when it comes to blockchain. In 2019, the worldwide spending on blockchain technology is $2.7 billion. It has already disrupted the finance sector and continues to grow in the right direction. Another great statistic is the valuation of blockchain in the food and agriculture market — which is valued at 41.9m USD.
In this article, we will see if blockchain holds the promise to change our future or not. To ensure that we do it correctly, we will look at the blockchain companies, blockchain future trends and more! Also, will future blockchain companies will be able to capture the trend and make the most out of it?
How Blockchain Stands in 2019
Deloitte’s 2019 Global Blockchain Survey is a global blockchain survey done by Deloitte. According to them, 50% of the organizations now recognize that blockchain is a critical factor. It has increased from 40% compared to last year. Other aspects of the blockchain have also improved, including the planning phase and realization that businesses will lose a competitive edge if they fail to implement blockchain.
However, more people think(43% vs. 39%) that blockchain is overhyped compared to 2018 numbers. People also think that that blockchain will disrupt their industry by 3% less compared to 2018 numbers.
Below is a screenshot that shows the blockchain attitude and adoption.
The survey also discusses the challenges, key issues and promises of blockchain.
To get a better understanding of blockchain’s future, we need to first go through its features.
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer network that relies on a decentralized approach. The absence of a centralized entity opens up a plethora of options for organizations that need trust, immutability, and transparency. To get a better idea, think of a big chain. If one of the small units of the chain is removed, the chain breaks, alerting everyone that something is wrong. Blockchain depends on a consensus method to verify and write transactions on the blockchain.
To get a better understanding of what blockchain has to offer, let’s go through the key features below.
Decentralized technology: One of the biggest features of blockchain is its decentralized technology. By virtue of decentralization, there is no need for a governing body. The nodes work together to validate a transaction using the consensus method(s).
This way, a blockchain network can be used to store documents, valuable digital assets, cryptocurrencies and more. As a user, all you need to do is make sure that you take proper care of your private keys — through which you can get access to your belongings on the assets online.
Better security: Blockchain also offers better security with the help of the cryptography used in making sure the data is secure. It’s a decentralized approach also means that the platform or network cannot be shut down or modified by just one single entity. The fact that even the highest secure, centralized entity can be hacked makes blockchain a very good security system as it doesn’t require a centralized approach.
Immutability: The data stored in the blockchain are immutable in nature. This means that the data, once saved, cannot be changed or altered. The immutability gives blockchain a great way to be part of systems where data theft or alterations are common occurrences.
Faster settlements: Blockchain offers faster settlement options when it comes to banking. The current banking system is too slow and takes a lot of time when it comes to settlements. With blockchain, the settlements will be almost instant with no delays whatsoever.
If you want to learn more about its features, then check out our 6 Key Blockchain Features You Need to Know about!
Early Stages of Blockchain Technology
According to Deloitte’s survey, not everyone thinks that blockchain is important to their industry or the company that they are working in. However, that doesn’t mean that blockchain’s future looks bleak. The survey provides you the current state of the blockchain.
Blockchain is only a decade old. From its inception in 2009 in the bitcoin’s whitepaper, it has come a long way from its inception. But, it is still a long way before it comes out of its early stage.
When it was released in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, no one predicted that it could become so big. With a few years passing by, blockchain was slowly picked up by organizations who saw the potential of going decentralized. However, the biggest reach it got was due to bitcoin. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that makes use of blockchain technology. You can say that blockchain technology powers bitcoin. With the price of bitcoin rising as high as $19K in December 2017, the only thing that’s on people’s minds is making money. Bitcoin, right now, is seen as equivalent to gold. Investors are keen to cash in the hype and that in return gave rise to more than 1500+ cryptocurrencies.
To get a better understanding of what blockchain currently is, we need to take a look at the blockchain technology’s three generations.
First-generation: The first generation of blockchain technology revolved around bitcoin and digital currencies. They were basic in nature and did not provide a way to automate tasks around it. Also, there was only one kind of blockchain that revolves around blocks. The bitcoin utilizes 1 MB of block size to store transactions. At that time, the block size might be enough, but now it seems to be on the small side. Also, storing every transaction information within the block was not ideal as it made fewer transactions to fit in the block.
However, it was revolutionary. It introduced the idea of distributed ledger technology, and now teams are working towards making it better with each passing day.
Second Generation: The second generation of blockchain technology introduced a new concept, known as smart contracts. It made blockchain more versatile. With smart contracts, blockchain can now not only store information, but also automate agreements on blockchain. Ethereum was the first blockchain that truly introduced the concept of smart contracts. It also started the blockchain technology second generation.
You can think of smart contracts as legal documents on code. They are executed if certain conditions are met, just like how a legal document works in real life.
Third generation: We are yet to see the third generation of blockchain technology. However, we are in the state of transition from second to the third generation. Right now, the biggest bottleneck that blockchain suffers from is scalability. The transactions are queued, and it can take anywhere between a couple of hours to days for some transactions to get completed. Many other distributed ledger technologies have solved it, but not at par with centralized solutions, including VISA.
Current uses cases and future use-cases
To get a better understanding of blockchain, we also need to take a look at the different use-cases of blockchain.
Current Blockchain use-cases
There are many blockchain use-cases right now. Let’s list them below.
Supply Chain: The current generation supply chain is efficient but suffers from many problems, including lack of transparency, traceability, and traceability. With blockchain, all of these are going to change. Blockchain makes supply chain transparency and, in return, ensures that each item can be traced without full transparency.
Food safety: One of the most notable use-cases of blockchain includes Food safety. IBM, in collaboration with Walmart, is utilizing blockchain technology to improve food safety. With every single information of food during its transition time, the food will always reach safely to the end consumer. The manufacturers only need to make sure that they put a barcode on each food item so that it can be tracked through blockchain.
HealthCare: The current state of healthcare has been improved by blockchain. It helps digitize patient profiles, which remove the errors and inaccuracies that came with documentation. In short, it improves electronic health records(EHRs). This way, patients also do not have to worry about carrying their reports with them. Apart from EHRs improvement, drug traceability will also improve. With blockchain integration into the supply chain, the drugs can be traced along throughout their journey, ensuring that no counterfeit drug reaches the end-users. The other key improvements include patient consent management, incentivization through micropayments and data security in clinical trials.
Finance: The finance sector is the biggest sector that has been impacted by blockchain. For instance, it has improved security, transparency, trust, privacy, scalability, programmability, and performance of the finance sector. It is easy to understand that the financial transactions are now streamlined and programmable thanks to the use of second-generation blockchain solutions such as Ethereum. It also makes sure the authenticity of data.
Real estate: Real estate will improve the real estate market drastically. It can benefit it by helping reduce costs, automate processes, tokenization, real-time payment settlements, better data accessibility, and network transparency.
There are other tons of blockchain use-cases. To know more, we suggest you go through the following use-cases articles on 101Blockchains.com
- 12+ Practical Blockchain Use-Cases 2020
- 10+ Must Know Enterprise Blockchain Use Cases
- Blockchain Usage: List of 20+ Blockchain Technology Use Cases
Future Blockchain use-cases
The future of blockchain does seem bright. In the future, we can see blockchain being integrated into almost everything around us, including artificial intelligence and internet-of-things. Even though it might seem that blockchain use-cases are plentiful, it is hard to say that they are exhausted. Blockchain is an emerging technology with a lot of things that can be improved in the near future. With innovations such as graph-based distributed ledger technology, it is important to understand that there are a lot of things to come for blockchain or DLT, in general.
In the future, we can easily see blockchain being integrated with smart cars, the internet, and almost everything we do and experience.
Current Players Revolutionizing Blockchain
In this section, we will briefly take a look at the current players revolutionizing blockchain.
Hyperledger is an open-source blockchain project that is managed by The Linux Foundation. It is an umbrella project which consists of multiple projects, including distributed ledgers, libraries, tools, and domain-specific projects. The Hyperledger greenhouse is big and consists of amazing projects, including the well known Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Besu, and others.
More than 300+ companies are participating in Hyperledger projects, including premier members such as IBM, Intel, SAP, and others.
You can read more about Hyperledger here: Hyperledger Fabric 2.0: Next Generation Blockchain
DAML is another interesting project that aims to provide a unified programming language to write distributed apps. It lets developers be productive and innovative. It is an open-source programming language and is currently being used by many platforms, including Sextant, Hyperledger Sawtooth, Amazon Aurora, Hyperledger Fabric, and so on.
Read more about DAML here: DAML Tutorial: Getting Started with DAML
Corda is an open-source blockchain platform aimed at businesses. It offers a global blockchain ecosystem that brings in developers to improve the blockchain state across industries. With Corda, businesses can implement their own distributed ledger that improves businesses. It also offers strict privacy with the help of smart contracts.
Read more about Corda here: The Ultimate Corda Tutorial 2020
The last blockchain project that we are going to discuss includes Ethereum Enterprise. It is an enterprise version of the public Ethereum that is aimed at enterprise use. They are working hard to create a standards organization that can work on blockchain specifications for worldwide business and consumer implementation.
Read more about Ethereum Enterprise here: Enterprise Ethereum: Private Blockchain For Enterprises
Is Cryptocurrency The Future?
When we talk about blockchain, it is obvious that cryptocurrency will find its place in the discussion. The same is true here. Cryptocurrency is the first real-world implementation of blockchain, i.e., bitcoin. In fact, most of the people out there are only well-versed with the cryptocurrency aspect and not the technological aspect of these coins.
What we mean to say is, crypto is here to stay. And, with crypto, blockchain technology is also going to stay among the masses — even when they do not have the technical know-how or the curiosity to learn about what makes their crypto work.
It should also be noted that cryptocurrency is not blockchain and vice-versa. Cryptocurrency is the implementation of blockchain or, more specifically, distributed ledger technology.
What is the future of blockchain?
There is no doubt that blockchain is not a Fad anymore. Its usefulness can easily be gauged from its use-cases itself. Many businesses have already implemented blockchain in their processes. And, many other businesses want to implement blockchain.
However, blockchain is not the one-solution that every company is looking for. As a business, you need to make sure that you evaluate the parameters correctly before implementing blockchain. According to the Deloitte research, the companies are now asking more questions when it comes to blockchain. They are not just asking one single question anymore, i.e., if they need blockchain or not. And, that’s correct. WIll that impact blockchain’s growth? It will be in a perfect way. The reason behind this is that, with companies making conscious and thoughtful decision making, they will have a higher chance of success. This, in return, means better use-cases for blockchain, which can help other businesses to evaluate and make them more comfortable with blockchain implementation — at least in their vertical.
With almost a decade over, we have seen decent growth with blockchain. It’s implementation rates have gone high, and some projects are trying to standardize blockchain for enterprise, i.e., Hyperledger. The open-source nature of blockchain also improves its chance to grow beyond what we expect from such a new technology.
The fact that blockchain is currently being used in vital processes, including cross-border payments, supply chain, identity, and so on, makes it more than ready for future-implementation. However, it is hard to say how the impact will be and whether it will be really impactful in different verticals and solutions.
Blockchain Future Predictions
So, what can we expect from blockchain in the future? Let’s see some of the predictions for blockchain.
DLT-powered Government Systems: Governments are more keen to implement their processes in DLT as it gives them more freedom to experiment and stay transparent. One such government is the Dubai government that wants to become the first government to run every government system on the blockchain. Other governments are also keen on making the most out of the blockchain as they look for ways to integrate it into their current systems.
Standardization: Blockchain is evolving at a rapid pace, and that’s what makes it so amazing! With more time, blockchain will become standardized. This will make it easy for anyone to not only implement blockchain but also collaborate towards the improvement of DLT.
Digital Identity: Blockchain has the ability to offer a DLT-based, cross-border identity standard for all the citizens of the world. It will not only digitize the identity of an individual but also make it possible for digitize assets.
World Trade: In the future, we can see blockchain to become the backbone for running world trade. It offers all the promising features that make it possible for different parties to trust each other. We already know how it improves supply chain and logistics. With this, it will be possible for anyone to do trade through blockchain as every action is transparent and immutable.
Improved living standards: With everything improving in terms of transparency, trust, immutability, security, and scalability — it is only time when blockchain technology will improve living standards.
This leads us to the end of our article, where we discussed is Blockchain the future? What do you think about the topic? Comment below and let us know.